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BS Yeddyurappa to remain Karnataka CM for a full five-year term if BJP wins: Javadekar

This means that the BJP will ignore its undeclared rule of not allowing leaders over 75 years of age to hold ministerial position to let Yeddyurappa become Karnataka chief minister.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2018 23:54 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BS Yeddyurappa,Javadekar,Karnataka
The BJP’s backing to BSY is aimed at allaying any fear in the Lingayat community that his stint as CM could be short lived.(PTI File Photo)

Lingayat strongman BS Yeddyurappa will remain chief minister of Karnataka for a full five-year term if the BJP is voted to power, a senior party leader said on Monday.

This means that the BJP will ignore its undeclared rule of not allowing leaders over 75 years of age to hold ministerial position to let Yeddyurappa become Karnataka chief minister.

“Any such rule will not apply to him. Yeddyurappa will complete a full five-year term,” said Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar who is also the BJP’s election in charge for Karnataka. Yeddyurappa, who turns 75 on Tuesday, is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Davangere on Tuesday to address a farmers rally. Davangere in North Karnataka is a Lingayat stronghold and BJP leaders say the Prime Minister might reiterate the party’s backing to BSY in a bid to allay any fear in the community that his stint as chief minister could be short lived.

The Lingayats are the single largest community in Karnataka and the BJP is banking on Yeddyurappa’s mass appeal to reclaim power in the only southern state the party has ever ruled.

The BJP had in the past invoked this 75-year rule to deny ministerial positions to veterans such as LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the Narendra Modi government after a resounding victory in 2014.

Veteran Kalraj Mishra and Najma Heptulla, too, were removed from their ministerial positions once they attained the age of 75. Mishra was given an extension of sorts as assembly elections were due in Uttar Pradesh and the BJP feared his removal could send wrong signals to Brahmins.

While Mishra stepped down in August, Heptulla was removed as minority affairs minister in July 2016. Both were 76. Heptulla was later appointed Manipur governor in August that year.

Another BJP leader said enforcing the 75-year rule could be counterproductive in Karnataka where the party is faction-ridden and only Yeddyurappa has a statewide appeal.

“Every rule is framed to achieve a target,” the BJP leader said. “Party’s interest is above every rule,” he added.

Yeddyurappa, a Lok Sabha MP from Shimoga, will contest the assembly election, said a person familiar with the current developments. He also said party chief Amit Shah has clearly told party leaders that no other parliamentarian, some of whom nurse chief ministerial ambition, will contest the assembly elections.

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 23:54 IST